Sometimes, we forget that he was struggling to stay in the NBA. He only was able to play because he got a chance. And it was that chance that helped launch Linsanity. He went from an obscure benchwarmer to overnight sensation last season.
And Jeremy Lin has proven to all of us all along that he is definitely an NBA player. He makes his return to the Bay Area for the first time since Linsanity started in early February. Marcus Thompson, Warriors beat writer, has the story at the Silicon Valley Mercury News.
But when his Houston Rockets visit the Warriors on Tuesday, Lin will have proved the most important thing: He belongs.
The third-year point guard isn’t as dominant as he was at the height of Linsanity, when he carried the injury-riddled New York Knicks into the postseason. But nor is he a 13th man. Lin is the starting point guard for a team in the mix for the Western Conference playoffs.
And Lin knew he could play. He had to have that mentality. From the same article:
“I didn’t know it would happen this fast,” Lin said after practice Monday, referring to the rise of his career. “Midway through my first year in the league, I was like, ‘Dude, I could do this. I can play at this level.’ “
It’s been an unusual career for Lin. Lin wasn’t drafted in the 2010 NBA Draft (part of it could be due to his race and where he played; there aren’t any other Asian-Americans in the NBA other than Lin and Harvard isn’t exactly a hotbed for basketball). He opened people’s eyes in 2010 Summer League, which prompted the Golden State Warriors to offer him a contract. After the Warriors (and then the Rockets) cut him, he got a chance in New York as the Knicks were searching for a point guard. The rest was history.
If he stayed in New York, the pressure would’ve been immense because of the high expectations with Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, and Amar’e Stoudemire expected to compete for a title (and because of Linsanity, of course). In Houston, he gets to grow as a player at his own pace, especially with the expectations not as high and with James Harden now being the #1 guy.
Regardless, Jeremy Lin is a starting point guard in the NBA. He belongs in the league and he will prove just that to his old team.